Allentown girls’ tennis advances in state sectional tournament


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The Allentown High School girls’ tennis team continues to make strides.

That was the theme when Allentown knocked off Brick Memorial High School, 5-0, in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 tournament.

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“They came to win,” Allentown head coach Daniel Fallon said after the Redbirds’ victory in Allentown on Oct. 5. “That’s what they did today — 5-0 is very good, and we’re thrilled about their performance. We’re excited to get through the first round of the states.”

Fallon is the co-coach of the team. Head coach Monica Kays is out on pregnancy leave. Fallon said that Kays’ teachings are the reason the team has played so well this year and why the Redbirds hope to build on a historic season last year.

Last year, for the first time in Kays’ four seasons coaching at Allentown, the Redbirds won a state tournament match when they defeated Trenton Central High School, 5-0, in the opening round of the Central Jersey, Group 3 playoffs. Allentown then fell to Hightstown High School, 4-1, in the second round of the state tournament.

“A lot goes into the coaching,” Fallon said. “They worked under Kays for three years now. She’s out now because of a pregnancy. I’m just kind of minding the ship now, but she built it.”

Fallon wants his team to make sure it embraces the experience and learn from each match.

“One of the things that we want to improve on is the girls working on their footwork and staying positive,” Fallon said. “You’re not going to win every game or every point. But you have to remain positive throughout the experience. We hope they do that and build on it for the rest of the year and in the years to come.”

Senior Stephanie Konya, who won at third singles against Brick Memorial, and senior Emma Battistelli, who was a winner at second doubles along with senior Bianca Ortiz, both believe that the team is really close and that their chemistry is the reason why the team is playing so well.

“We were all doing really well and supporting each other,” Konya said. “We put our heart out on the court. You can see that we’re really a team.”

“When you hear all the crowd support outside of the fence, you know you’ve become a good team,” Battistelli said. “We support each other, and that pushes us to win more.”

Against Brick Memorial, sophomore Erin Gray was victorious at first singles, while freshman Grace Vogt picked up a win at second singles. Isabella Dona and sophomore Cassidy Smith added a victory at first singles.

Konya and Battistelli believe the team is coming together, and they want to improve on their individual games in order to help the team more.

“I feel like as a team, we’re really playing together,” Konya said. “Individually, I want to be able to move my feet more and get a better serve.”

“As a team, I think we’ve already improved so much, especially from last year to this year,” Battistelli said. “Individually, I can still improve on my volleys and serves and stuff like that.”

The girls are proud of how far this team has come and hope that the team will continue to improve.

“We set the bar pretty high,” Konya said. “This is the best I’ve ever seen this team. We just have to continue to do what we’re doing and we should be fine.”

“We definitely raised the bar high early in the season,” Battistelli said. “If we were to get any award this year, I’d say we would get the most improved team.”

Allentown was scheduled to play at Moorestown High School in the quarterfinals of the Central Jersey, Group 3 tournament on Oct. 9. A victory would put the Redbirds in the semifinals on Oct. 13 against either Hightstown High School or Nottingham High School.

Allentown travels to Hamilton High School West on Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. for a regular-season match.

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